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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/6/18

Meet Ahed Tamimi, 17-Year-Old West Bank Activist Jailed for 8 Months for Slapping Israeli Soldier

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Seventeen-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has been freed from Israeli prison after eight months behind bars. Known to some as the Rosa Parks of Palestine, Tamimi became a hero to Palestinians and people around the world last year after a viral video showed her slapping a heavily armed Israeli soldier near her family's home in the occupied West Bank. The incident came just after Tamimi learned her cousin had been gravely wounded by an Israeli soldier who shot him in the head using a rubber-coated steel bullet.

Video of Tamimi confronting the soldier went viral, elevating her into a symbol of Palestinian resistance. Ahed was soon arrested in the middle of the night and charged with assault in an Israeli military court. She was sentenced to eight months in an Israeli prison and celebrated her 17th birthday behind bars. Her mother was also arrested and charged for incitement, in part for streaming video online showing the interaction between Tamimi and the Israeli soldier. Tamimi and her mother, Nariman, were released in late July. We speak with Ahed Tamimi from her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.


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AMY GOODMAN: We begin today's show with a young woman described as the Rosa Parks of Palestine: 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi. Last year, Ahed became a hero to Palestinians after a video went viral showing her slapping a heavily armed Israeli soldier near her family's home in the occupied West Bank. The incident came just after Ahed learned her cousin had been gravely wounded by an Israeli soldier who shot him in the head using a rubber-coated steel bullet. Video of Ahed confronting the soldier went viral, elevating her into a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

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Ahed Tamimi was soon arrested in the middle of the night, charged with assault in an Israeli military court. She was sentenced to eight months in an Israeli prison. She turned 17 years there; she celebrated her 17th birthday behind bars. Her mother was also arrested and charged for incitement, in part for streaming video online showing the interaction between Ahed and the Israeli soldier. Both Ahed and her mother, Nariman, were released in late July.

Last week, soon after she was released, Democracy Now!'s Nermeen Shaikh and I spoke with Ahed Tamimi from her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahed, welcome to Democracy Now! How does it feel to be free from jail?

AHED TAMIMI: [translated] It's an extremely wonderful feeling. I hope all prisoners, men and women, live to experience this joy. Of course, my joy is incomplete, because my brothers and sisters remain in prison. And I hope that they are liberated and feel the happiness that I feel today.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the day you were released? Can you talk about that Sunday, where the Israeli military took you and your mother?

AHED TAMIMI: [translated] I was released from prison at 5:30, and they took me to Rantees, but they told my parents that I would be released at the Jbara checkpoint. It's about an hour between Rantees and Jbara. They kept playing with my parents, telling them here, then there, then there. They made my parents go everywhere. At the end, they ended up dropping us off at the gateway to the village.

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NERMEEN SHAIKH: Can you explain, Ahed, what actually led to your arrest?

AHED TAMIMI: [translated] They accused me of hitting a soldier. I had 12 charges brought up against me, but the main one was the charge of hitting a soldier in front of the door of my house. My goal wasn't to hit him. I didn't intend to hit him. He had shot my cousin in the head, and my cousin was going to die because of the injury. The soldier at the front of my house was shooting at children and young men in the street. I'm not the one that went to him. He's the one that was at the front of my door.

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